1995 Model Review

Apr. 01, 2002 By Gerald Luiz

The big change is the availability of the GM 5.7L TBI V8 gasoline engine with 4 bolt mains. I am told this motor derives from a marine unit. From the first turn of the key, you know it is very different. It has a very distinctive cranking sound and sounds just like a GM.

Driving around town, it has plenty of pep. The gas engine generates its power higher in the revs and it shifts a little later. The big difference is that it is very quiet. "Very quiet" may be an exaggeration but compared to the diesels it is a huge difference. Instead of the motor, you hear the tire noise and geared hub whine. You can easily tell if you are running the MT or GS-A tires (see below). You don't hear much transmission noise but the tunnel has always been pretty well insulated. Stabbing the throttle gives a nice downshift into the rpms and off you go. To be honest, the gas engine is actually not any faster than the diesel around town in my head to head comparisons. However, it feels faster because the you don't hear the motor straining as much. You know when the diesel is reved up!

On the highway however, the story changes. Beyond 40 the diesels begin to show their nature. At that time you are beyond the torque peak in third. It just starts to get flat. The gas engine comes on later in the revs and pulls a little more. Even at around 65, stabbing the throttle can cause a downshift into the 3rd gear power band for that passing situation. The diesels with their 600 rpm lower hp peak really don't downshift above 60. The gasoline motor is still quite a bit quieter, however you won't call a HUMMER quiet (or powerful) by any means.

Most people are more familiar with the behavior of gasoline engines and will like the 350. It does what you expect. Diesels are a different breed. The torque peak is 700 rpm lower (1,700 rpm). You reach this almost right off the line with the torque converter (2.2:1) slip. It has a much more flat power curve and requires the driver to plan ahead.

The downside to the gasoline motor is the smaller effective fuel tank, 23 gallons instead of 25. The gasoline engine also gets worse fuel mileage (roughly 2-4 mpg less on road, depends on conditions), requiring more frequent feedings. However, fuel is more common and easily found.

Off-road the gasoline motor loses 6" of fording depth due to the non-sealed starter motor. Some would also claim the gasoline motor with its high tension system are less tolerant anyway. The HUMMER is geared better for the diesel motor in my opinion. They also burn much more fuel, 50-100% more depending on how severe the terrain. They are still quite capable and should not be considered a handicap by any means.

Enough of the engines! The new extended cab 2 door is quite spacious with plenty of seat adjustment. The new HMCO allows you to have soft top with out the funny plastic windows flopping around every time you want fresh air. The side by side doors in the HMCS is a mixed blessing. The tailgate was so nice to spread things out at camp.

The electronic HVAC control is acceptable. It is the same unit GM trucks have had for a few years. However, you always have to look at it to see the setting instead of just noting the lever position. I always thought the rear HVAC unit should be standard and now it is. The system is just a little weak without it for the 4 door models. The optional bench seat between the rear seats may be the ticket for bigger families. It is really not practical for adults but are great for children. You can even add another bench seat in the back for 8 passenger seating.

Two piece rims are the same as before, with a one piece beadlock or a one piece runflat/beadlock assembly. What is new is the cross-country Goodyear Wrangler GS-A tires. The asymmetrical pattern has much tighter and shorter lugs. Compared to the MT's, they are quieter (noticeable in a gas truck) and handle slightly better. However, they will suffer in the mud and loose terrain.

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